from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 04 May 2010
(Harare/New York, 4 May 2010) - Some 5 million children in Zimbabwe will receive urgently needed protection from the spread of measles thanks to a $5.6 million allocation from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

"The CERF contribution will allow for urgent programmes to immunize children against this deadly disease. Halting the spread of measles now should avert a number of preventable deaths", said John Holmes, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator. In spite of an initial response which included vaccination of more than 148,000 children in 23 districts since the beginning of the outbreak in September 2009, the incidence of measles has been on the rise and more than 6,200 cumulative cases, including 384 fatalities, have now been reported in 57 out of 62 districts across Zimbabwe.

Together with the Government of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MOHCW), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) plan to immunize 95 percent of children between the ages of 6 months and 14 years in Zimbabwe during a ten-day, nationwide campaign.

WHO and UNICEF will provide further technical assistance in planning, coordinating, implementing and monitoring of the measles outbreak response. Some $3.5 million in CERF funding will allow UNICEF to provide logistical support to the nationwide campaign, including ensuring that all measles vaccines, and the equipment to keep them cold are delivered quickly to all 62 districts. CERF funds will also help UNICEF to produce and distribute educational materials ahead of the campaign, to inform the population. WHO will use some $2.1 million in CERF funding to support critical micro-planning activities and refresher training of roughly 14,000 people including health workers needed to carry out a campaign of this scale.

CERF was established in 2006 to make funding for humanitarian emergencies faster and more equitable. Since then, more than 115 Member States and several private sector donors have contributed some $1.9 billion to the Fund, which is managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Humanitarian Agencies in Zimbabwe have received the ninth-most CERF funding of any country in the world, with some $57.3 million allocated for programmes there since 2006.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.